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'Hell's Kitchen' hit by racism row

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'Hell's Kitchen' hit by racism row
Hell's Kitchen has become embroiled in a racism row after Chef Marco Pierre White used the word "pikey" on the programme.

Viewers watched the head chef saying: "I don't think it was a pikey's picnic tonight", which has prompted the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) to criticise the show.

A CRE spokesperson told The Sun: "These distasteful comments are highly derogatory and have caused much offence. For some reason, people think it acceptable to talk about the gypsy and Irish traveller community in this way.

"If these comments were about black people, there would be widespread condemnation, yet it seems most people are quite happy to let this pass by. Given that he's got a slot on prime time television, it's a shame that Pierre White appears completely lacking in social graces."

When Pierre White was criticised on the show for using the word by former Blue singer Lee Ryan, the chef replied: "What is wrong with being a pikey?"

Former Hell's Kitchen contestant Rosie Boycott has defended the cook, claiming that she doesn't think he is racist or sexist in "any form".

An ITV spokesperson defended broadcasting the comments, commenting: "The choice of language was flagged as 'controversial' at the start of the programme and the term was described as 'offensive'.

"The use of the word was clearly, forcefully and robustly challenged by one of the contestants. In this context, we feel that the broadcast of the word was responsible and justified. In addition, all the cast of Hell's Kitchen have been briefed that the use of the word is unacceptable."

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